John McCain Offers Third Bush Term on Iraq

WASHINGTON , D ec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In his new campaign ad today and out on the campaign trail, Arizona Senator John McCain likes to pretend he opposed Don Rumsfeld's strategy on Iraq from the beginning. Back in Washington...

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In his new campaign ad today and out on the campaign trail, Arizona Senator John McCain likes to pretend he opposed Don Rumsfeld's strategy on Iraq from the beginning. Back in Washington, however, John McCain has consistently been one of President Bush 's most loyal defenders -- a fact made clear by his event today in Boston with Henry Kissinger and former CIA Director James Woolsey . In sharing a stage with Woolsey, McCain is joining one of the leading members of the Defense Policy Board that helped shape Rumsfeld's Iraq strategy.

This is hardly the first time McCain and Woolsey have stood shoulder to shoulder on Iraq . In fact, as early as 2001, Woolsey and McCain were among the leading voices pushing for war. During a November 2001 episode of ABC's Nightline, Rumsfeld, Woolsey and McCain all made the case for invading Iraq , using the same misleading rhetoric. Rumsfeld said, "There is no question but that there has been a good deal of interaction between the terrorists in the Philippines and the al-Qaeda and people in Iraq ." Woolsey agreed, saying "There's good evidence that [ Iraq ] has been involved in terrorist acts against the United States since -- and quite possibly -- September 11th and even possibly the anthrax." Given a chance to oppose Rumsfeld's strategy at the start, McCain echoed the Administration line: "There has been significant involvement on the part of the Iraqis and Saddam Hussein in the acts of terror that have been committed in the past." [Nightline, 11/28/01]

In fact, every step of the way, John McCain has parroted President Bush 's rhetoric on the war. In 2003, McCain echoed President Bush and Don Rumsfeld's rosy predictions by claiming that the end was "very much in sight" in Iraq . In 2005, McCain backed Bush, arguing that another year would prove "stay the course" was working. [The Hill, 12/8/05; ABC News, Good Morning America, 4/9/03] In 2006, McCain argued that Iraq was "on the right track" even as it slipped further toward civil war. [MSNBC, Imus in the Morning, 3/1/06] Today, McCain's campaign insists, "terrorists are on the run," even while half of Afghanistan appears to have fallen back under the control of the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden remains at large. [, press release, 12/17/07; Time, 12/8/07; Investor's Business Daily, 12/14/07]

"John McCain can pretend to have opposed the failed Bush-Rumsfeld strategy if he wants, but voters haven't forgotten that he was one of the leading figures keeping time on the drumbeat to war and standing with the President every step of the way," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Luis Miranda . "The last thing the American people want is a third Bush term, but that is exactly what John McCain offers on the war in Iraq ."

McCain Has As Much Credibility on Iraq as the Bush Administration

2003: McCain Said Bush Led With "Clarity" And Did Not Exaggerate the Case for War. During an interview with a live audience, Senator McCain praised President Bush on his leadership on the Iraq war and said, "I think the president has led with great clarity and I think he's done a great job leading the country, don't you all?" And asked if he thought the president exaggerated the case for war, McCain said, "I don't think so. And I think that it's obvious that the 16 words should not have appeared in his speech. He acknowledged that again today. But I think that he made a strong case and I think that case has been verified with discovery of mass graves and the brutality of this incredible regime." [MSNBC, Hardball, 4/23/03; Fox News, 7/31/03]

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